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December 05, 2012

Obama: I Won't Play That Game, And By Game I Mean "Some Degree of Financial Responsibility"

The GOP is threatening -- I hate even to use the word "threaten" -- to demand some kind of future fiscal sanity from Obama in exchange for a present increase in the debt limit.

Obama considers that unfair and racist. And also, a game.

Meanwhile, an analyst offers four different scenarios for raising the debt limit. Two involve breaking the Constitution. None of them involve spending less money and solving the country's solvency crisis.

A normally mild-mannered writer offered these thoughts:

One of the problems the GOP is that they have a negotiating partner who never seems to learn the right lessons.

His first term was full of failures, stumbles, mistakes, etc., but who has a remarkable ability to shift blame. Stimulus wasn't "shovel-ready"? Not his fault. Economy stinks? "Headwinds." Scott Brown wins in a warning shot against Obamacare, and he charges ahead anyway. His received a stunning rebuke in the midterms, but didn't change his approach. Debt ceiling debate? "Don't call my bluff, Eric."

Now he sees in his reelection absolute and total vindication of everything he's done as president. This is why I'm skeptical of Keith Hennessey's theory that Obama is more willing to deal than his public stance suggests - I think Obama's not nearly as afraid of going over the cliff as he ought to be.

One way or another, Obama will be in office for the next four years. So maybe what is needed most is a giant "teachable moment" for Obama - some mess so big and so vast, even he has to realize he screwed up.

Over the cliff? Higher tax rates for everybody? Double-dip recession? If the country is in even worse state by the end of 2013, perhaps Obama will realize he's presiding over five years of recession, a depression that will define his presidency, and he'll start being more conciliatory, and negotiating in good faith again?

Call it the Let It Burn program, Cool Hand Luke subroutine.

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posted by Ace at 06:35 PM

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